Archaeological Mysteries in the Ottawa Area

Jean-Luc Pilon
Curator, Ontario Archaeology
Canadian Museum of Civilization

(this is an expanded version of an article published as
"On the Nature of Archaeology in the Ottawa Area and Archaeological Mysteries"
in Ontario Archaeology No.75:17-27, 2003)

Scientific discourse usually takes place within the pages of journals published by scholarly societies.  The goal is to create a body of information that can be referred to and added to by later research.  A recently rediscovered, but unsigned newspaper article published days following the excavation of the Ottawa Ossuary by Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt shares some points with Dr. Van Cortlandt's own account published in the Canadian Journal of 1853.  While there are clear similarities between the two documents, there are also important differences that are not easily reconciled.  This instance reminds us of the importance of publications of record published by learned societies.  It also cautions us against the uncritical acceptance of unverifiable information.

Introduction | Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt | A Comparison of Two Articles

The Burden of Proof | In Defence of Bédard's Landing | T.W. Edwin Sowter's Certainty

Final Considerations | 1843 Bytown Gazette Article | 1853 Van Cortlandt Article

References Cited